Stoke Primary School
Educational Visits Policy
Date reviewed by Governors
Date of next review
Appendix 1: Staffing Ratios
It should be noted that the Headteacher, Deputy Headteacher and Assistant Headteacher (EVC) completed updates and training respectively in Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024.
LA Model Adopted
Educational Visits Policy
Educational visits are activities arranged by or on behalf of the school, and which take place outside the school grounds. The governors and teaching staff believe that off-site activities supplement and enrich the curriculum of the school by providing experiences which would otherwise be impossible. All off-site activities must serve an educational purpose, enhancing and enriching our children’s learning experiences.
In this policy we seek to establish a clear and coherent structure for the planning and evaluation of our off-site visits, and to ensure that any risks are managed and kept to a minimum, for the safety and health of all pupils at all times. Within these limits we seek to make our visits available to all pupils, and wherever possible to make them accessible to those with disabilities. The visits usually take place within the school day, but on occasions, take place after school. Our school adopts the LA guidance and uses their proforma when planning Educational Visits.
The aims of our off-site visits are to:
For each subject in the curriculum, there is a corresponding programme of activities (which includes visits to the school by specialists). All these activities are in line with guidance published by the LA:
Literacy – theatre visits, visits by authors, poets and theatre groups, visits to the local library;
Science – use of the school grounds, visits to botanical gardens, visit to the Sea Life Centre, visit to Twycross Zoo, external visitors;
Mathematics – use of shape and number trails in the local environment;
History – castle visits, study of local housing patterns, local and national museums;
Geography – use of the locality for fieldwork, visit to a beach, village trails;
Art and design – art gallery visits, use of the locality, external visitors;
PE – a range of sporting fixtures, extra-curricular activities, visits by specialist coaches;
Music – a variety of specialist music teaching, extra-curricular activities, local schools’ orchestra, concerts for parents to hear, Morning of Music;
Design and Technology – visits to local factories, design centres and a local secondary school;
ICT – its use in local shops/libraries/secondary schools etc;
RE – visits to local centres of worship, visits by local clergy;
PSHE and citizenship – visit to the fire station or an old people's residential home, visits by local police officers and health workers.
Children in Upper Key Stage 2 have the opportunity to take part in a residential visit to Dol y Moch. The residential visit enables children to take part in outdoor and adventure activities as part of their PE work, as well as having links with PSHE, Science and Geography. We undertake this visit only with the written agreement of the LA. The centre provides qualified instructors for all specialist activities that we undertake.
Children in Lower Key Stage 2 have the opportunity to take part in an overnight camping trip within the local area. The experience enables children to experience the outdoors, and increase their independence and confidence.
How Visits may be Authorised
The EVC will appoint a party leader to be responsible for running the activity. This will normally be a teacher employed at the school.
The school’s educational visits coordinator, who may be the headteacher, will be involved in the planning and management of off-site visits. S/he will:
Staff arranging or otherwise involved in off-site activities must familiarise themselves with the regulations, advice and procedures published by the LA (and available from the school office). All off-site activities must take place in accordance with the LA’s instructions.
Where staff are proposing to arrange an off-site activity, they must seek and obtain the approval of the EVC before any commitment is made on behalf of the school. A comprehensive visit plan should be provided by the member of staff to allow for an informed decision to be made. The EV pack is available from the staff handbook, school office, or EVC. Paperwork is also available on the School Server.
Where the activity involves a period of more than 24 hours, an overnight stay, or a journey by sea or air, the headteacher will seek the approval of the governing body and the Local Education Authority before permitting the activity to take place.
It is our policy that all children should be able to participate in educational visits. Where a child with a disability is eligible for a trip, we will make every effort to ensure that s/he is included. We may seek guidance from parents to help us adapt our programme, and we will make any reasonable adjustments to our itinerary to include a child with disabilities. Any such adjustments will be included in the risk assessment.
A comprehensive risk assessment is carried out by the group leader before the proposed visit. It will assess the risks which might be encountered on the visit, and will indicate measures to prevent or reduce them. The risk assessment should be based on the following considerations:
Staff planning an off-site activity should make a preliminary visit to the venue, in order to carry out an on-site risk assessment. It is important to take into account the probable weather conditions at the time of year proposed for the trip, and the party leader should take careful account of the facilities available, with due regard to the proposed size of the group. They should also assess the site’s suitability with regard to the age and any particular needs of the children. They will also consider the venue’s own approach to security and to health and safety. Venues providing instructor-led activities will have their own risk assessments for particular sessions, and these assessments may be adopted if it is impractical for the group leader to experience the activity beforehand, or if s/he lacks the skills required to make informed judgements about the risks it may involve. The LA will not have given its approval for the visit unless it is satisfied with the venue, its instructors and their risk assessment procedures.
It is important to assess and record any health, safety or security issues that are identified during the preliminary visit. Any such issues will be taken into account when the final decision is taken on whether the visit should proceed, and the Visit Plan must state both the extent of any risks involved, and the measures that will be taken to reduce or eliminate them. The cost of these preliminary visits will be borne by the school, and should be built into the overall financial arrangements for the visit itself.
An activity will have sufficient adults taking part to provide the correct ratios (see Appendix 1). Any trip will require a minimum of two adults per class.
The risk assessment must also cover transport to and from the venue. The coach company we use on a regular basis has provided us with a letter detailing all the health and safety measures it routinely takes, including:
The group leader will double-check that all adults helping to supervise the trip have been subject to DBS checks.
A copy of the completed risk assessment will be uploaded to Evolve to be approved by the EVC. A copy of the risk assessment will also be shared with all adults supervising the trip.
The costing of off-site activities should include any of the following that apply:
Transport arrangements will allow a seat for each member of the party. It is our policy only to use coaches fitted with seat or lap belts, and to insist that they be worn by all those participating in the visit.
Where private cars are used for transport, the group leader is responsible for checking that the insurance of each driver covers such journeys, and double-checking that each driver has been subject to the normal DBS checks.
Our minibus meets LA guidelines, and each seat has a belt. We instruct all children, whether travelling by car, minibus or coach, to attach their seat belts.
Communication with Parents
The parents of children taking part in an off-site activity should be provided with all appropriate information about the intended visit. Parents must give their permission in writing before a child can be involved in any off-site activities.
Funding for off-site activities is provided mainly by parental contributions (voluntary except in the case of residential visits). This is made clear to parents in all correspondence about an educational visit at the planning stage and is currently charged at £30 to cover all trips for the year (excluding residential trips).
No child may be excluded from an activity because of the unwillingness or inability of the parent to make a contribution. Parents will be informed of this principle through the school prospectus and letters sent home about intended visits.
Further Health and Safety Considerations
All adults accompanying a party must be made aware, by the party leader, of the emergency procedures which will apply. Each adult should be provided with an emergency telephone number. This will normally be the school number, but where an activity extends beyond the normal school day the home telephone number of a designated emergency contact should be provided.
Before a party leaves school, the school office should be provided with a list of everyone, children and adults, travelling with the party, together with a programme and timetable for the activity.
The safety of the party, and especially the children, is of paramount importance. During the activity the party leader must take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that safety. This involves taking note of any information provided by medical questionnaire returns, and ensuring that children are both safe and well looked after at all times.
Prior to an activity, if it is felt that the behaviour of an individual child is likely to compromise the safety of others or the good name of the school, the party leader should discuss with the headteacher the possibility of making additional arrangements for that child.
Group Leaders’ Planning
Group Leaders must read thoroughly the appropriate guidance for off-site activities:
They must consult the LA’s documentation detailing procedures and requirements, including guidance on Emergency Planning and Crisis Line organisation, and must draw up a Visit Plan which records in writing (including standard forms where appropriate) the arrangements that have been made.
The visit plan for intended educational visits must include the following:
Monitoring and Review
Visit leaders are encouraged to review visits, taking into account the successful and less successful parts of the visit, and considering ways in which the visit could have been improved. Informal conversations might take place between the visit leader(s) and the EVC or Headteacher regarding the outcome of the visit.
This policy is monitored by the governing body and will be reviewed every two years, or before if necessary.
STAFFING AND STAFF RATIOS
General Activities including fieldwork
See Section A6 for definitions of categories of visits.
Ratios for specific adventure activities can be found in Section A7 Outdoor Leadership and activities.
Age of young people
Staff: young person ratios – typical range NB actual ratios must be determined by a process of risk assessment
Visit Leader competence
Category A and B1
i.e. visits in the UK but not:-
1:2-3 (minimum 2 staff)
1:3-6 (minimum 2 staff)
Years 1-2 (KS1)
1:6-10 (minimum 2 staff)
Years 3-6 (KS2)
1:10-12 (minimum 2 staff)
occasionally1:15,see note below*
1:6-10 (minimum 2 staff)
Category B2 and C
i.e. Visits abroad or adventurous and residential visits
1:10-12 (but minimum 2 staff)**
and qualified where adventurous
Special schools / centres
1:5-8 (but minimum 2 staff)
*Note: for KS2 local visits to AT7, or similar, 1:15 ratio is appropriate.